Cavities occur as a result of the destruction of tooth structure, a process called tooth decay. Tooth decay can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth). While daily brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque, a regular cleaning and checkup at our office is the best way to help avoid cavities.
During your dental cleaning and checkup, we can diagnose if you already have a cavity. Early stages of tooth decay may not be noticeable, so don’t wait for a toothache to get a checkup! Potential cavities can be identified when the tooth surface feels soft when probed with a dental instrument, and X-rays can help confirm decay that is not visible to the eye. In advanced stages of tooth decay, you might experience a toothache or increased sensitivity, especially after consuming sweet, hot, or cold foods or drinks. Other signs of tooth decay are visible pits or holes in the teeth.
Remember, tooth decay is a progressive disease. The longer you wait to treat a cavity, the more extensive your treatment will be. A small cavity can be treated with a filling, but larger cavities can actually weaken the structure of your tooth, and can require more invasive (and expensive) treatments like an inlay, onlay, or a crown. Significant decay can cause the nerve or pulp of the tooth to die, and a root canal or tooth extraction may be your only options.
If you think you may have a cavity, or if you have not been seen by our hygienists or visited the dentist for over 6 months, we invite you to contact our office right away and schedule an appointment. Our team will make sure you leave with a healthy, pain-free smile!
Article provided by Sesame Communications.